Riki Kerekere, Operations Manager of Countdown Meat & Livestock in Otahuhu, has been awarded the prestigious Christie Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the retail meat industry. Riki was recognised with this prestigious Award at the Alto Butcher, ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice and Pure South Master Butcher live stream event in Auckland this week.
Riki Kerekere said of his win, “I’m just honoured to have joined that list of amazing people who have paved the way for the industry and made things possible for me and my career. I’m just so happy to have won.
Riki has been involved in the meat industry all his working life. Starting out as a clean-up boy he progressed over time through to a management role becoming instrumental in mentoring and training staff and apprentices at the Countdown plant in South Auckland. Riki has his own unique personal approach and knowledge which is highly respected not only by his own team, but also those in the wider meat industry.
Riki had some words of advice for the many young apprentices who look up to him. “Just keep working at it. As long as they have the drive, then there’s a way. The pathway is there, they just need to grab it and run with it.”
Now in its eleventh year, the retail meat industry’s annual recognition for a lifetime of commitment, fervour and perseverance to enhance the trade, was set up in honour of Geof Christie, a butcher and tutor of trainee butchers in polytechnics, whose passion for his trade was tireless.
Jason Trewern, president of Retail Meat New Zealand for the past three years, and instrumental in the selection of Riki says he is delighted the award has gone to Riki. “He’s a great role model and leader and has worked passionately to support young butchers coming into the trade. Countdown’s success in the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice competition in recent years is testament to that,” says Trewern. “He’s given many hours of his time to support industry events and butchery competitions over the years both as a judge and competitor of high distinction.”
Riki Kerekere joins an esteemed list of other Christie Award recipients that includes The Mad Butcher, Sir Peter Leitch; Todd Heller, founder of Hellers NZ and butcher and Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Rod Slater amongst others.